Show 537: Local artists Vincent Czyz and Chris Johnson

Local artists Vincent Czyz and Chris Johnson talk about their work concerning religion!

Today, Matthew LaClair speaks with Chris Johnson about his new book A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God.

Also, Barry Seidman talks with author Vincent Czyz about his new novel (concerning whether or not a historical Jesus existed) – The Christos Mosaic.

Audio can be found here!

Show 390: Easter Sunday Special w/ Dr. Bruce Waller

Easter Sunday Special w/ Dr. Bruce Waller

Audio here!

The believed resurrection of Jesus Christ celebrated on Easter Day is the climax of a bizarre moral narrative in which an innocent victim endures great suffering until death, for the purpose of absolving the sins of everyone else; and all of it, arranged and supervised by the Christian god.

The problems with deriving any meaningful message about morality from this very strange story are numerous. Yet despite all of the contradiction and irony in their founding narrative, for most of the past two thousand years Christians have generally managed to believe that each of us must choose of our own free will to let Christ into our hearts and be saved so that after we’ve died we may join him and perhaps our loved ones in a heavenly paradise.. or else we can except to suffer for all of eternity in Hell.  According to the bible the choice is ours, to make of our own free will.

The belief that with our ‘free will’ we are free to choose to be who ever and what ever we want to make ourselves is the primary rationale for assigning moral responsibility.  But today we understand that we are all the result of factors we do not choose.  We do not, and can not choose to be any way other than what our genes and our environmental experiences make possible.  At a time when we know this to be true, can holding people morally responsible still make sense?  And is it fair?

To help us examine the question of moral responsibility we will feature an interview with Dr. Bruce Waller, professor of religion and philosophy at Youngstown State University and author of the recently published book, “Against Moral Responsibility.”  And following our interview with Dr. Waller we will be pleased to again feature the complete recording of the last known mediated debate between Jesus Christ and the Easter Bunny.

Show 377: Jesus: Man or Myth

Jesus: Man or Myth w/ Robert Price

Audio here!

Tonight is Christmas Eve. Christians around the planet will understand this evening as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, a prophet and son-of-God. Biblical scholarship outside of Christian Apologetics have long held that the Jesus of the Gospels – the Jesus born of a virgin, master miracle worker, and the god who rose from the dead and founded a religion – never existed… That this Jesus was a mythology designed to offer metaphysical bases for a very human religion.

But did a man named Jesus ever exist, historically speaking? If not, who was it Christianity was based on? And if there never existed the Jesus of the Gospels NOR a historical Jesus, what are Christians to do?

Today we will speak with biblical scholar Robert Price on this – the core of an entire religion may much different than most Christians even suspect.

Show 353: Easter Day Special w/ Hector Avalos and “Normal” Bob Smith

Easter Day Special w/ Hector Avalos and “Normal” Bob Smith

Audio here!

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The gruesome, protracted, torture, and killing, of god’s son is expected to be taken by all as a sign of god’s love for humankind. This might seem as if it would be an unlikely premise on which to base a religion, yet despite its contradictions Christianity is the most popular religion on Earth.

Of course to up the ante a bit, just in case the child sacrifice wasn’t inspiring enough, John 3:18 warns:

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

And if god can treat his innocent son as he did, we can just imagine what a condemned person should expect.

Continue reading “Show 353: Easter Day Special w/ Hector Avalos and “Normal” Bob Smith”

Show 313: One-Hour Easter Special; “Eternal Life?”

One-Hour Easter Special w/ Aubrey De Grey

Audio here!

“Eternal Life?

This Easter Sunday we will consider the question of eternal life from a naturalistic vantage point.  The biblical verse John 3:16 is considered to be a summary of the most central doctrine of traditional Christianity – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Yet despite this claim, and a vast number of others suggesting that the key to eternal life is belief in Jesus Christ, there is not a shred of evidence to support such a view.  In reality no one can guarantee “eternal life;” however, in the decades ahead, people experiencing a lifespan many times the length of our current lifespan may become a reality.

Joining us to discuss the most realistic hopes that humans have for a radically extended life span will be the man who has made the controversial claim that the first person who will live to live to be one thousand years old is most likely alive today: author of “Ending Aging” and Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), Dr. Aubrey de Grey.

We’ll also feature the classic debate between the Easter Bunny and Jesus (guess who our money is on).

Show 278: One-Hour Easter Day Special w/Arnell Dowret

One-Hour Easter Day Special w/Arnell Dowret

Audio here!

This Easter our basket truly overflowith as we examine…

Naturalistic Christianity, or “Everybody Else Does It So Why Can’t We?”

Is it possible that there can be completely naturalistic approach to being a Christian?  This Easter we’ll be taking your calls to hear your views on this question.

We’ll also be featuring a special rebroadcast of what, to date, is the last known public debate between Jesus Christ and the Easter Bunny – recorded just months before the Bunny tragically contracted Type-2 Genital Herpes, and loath to pass it on, voluntarily went into seclusion 🙁

Show 228: “Was Jesus Left Behind?” w/ Dr. Robert M. Price

Audio here!

As Christmas approaches, and the religious Right try to force everyone to say “Merry Christmas,” and mean it, the rest of us may want to know why they protest so much. What is the relationship between the religious Right, the Christian Church, and the gospel story of Jesus of Nazareth; where do they intersect, and where to they part ways?

Robert Price, a professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies, and a fellow of biblical criticism’s most activist research groups, The Jesus Seminar, has asked these questions (and more) of himself and fellow researchers, and has published his opinions in a host of controversial books and papers. He has taken on Pastor Rick Warren with his book, The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For?; Dan Brown, with his book, The Da Vinci Fraud: Why the Truth Is Stranger than Fiction; discussed his own de-conversion in Beyond Born Again; and even addressed the question of whether an historical Jesus ever existed in Deconstructing Jesus. His answer to that dangerous question…? No.

For Equal Time for Freethought’s one-hour special this Sunday, we will speak to (and take calls for) Dr. Price regarding two of his most recent books; Jesus is Dead (a collection of essays discussing both the historicity of Jesus and the Resurrection), and The Paperback Apocalypse: How the Christian Church got LEFT BEHIND (a critical look at myriad apocalyptic novels, including what one reader called, “the biblical errors and theological absurdities in the Left Behind series”).

Show 188: The Politics of Jesus – A Debate

Audio here!

The battle between the progressive secular Left in America with religion lies squarely on the frontlines of radical religious fundamentalism. It is clear for the American Left that an America dominated by the likes of Dominionists – Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Tim Lahaye and many politicians in the current Neo-Conservative Republican Party – will be an America minus democracy, diversity and equality.

But what of religious liberals?

Continue reading “Show 188: The Politics of Jesus – A Debate”

Show 160: Julia Scheeres

Audio here!

“In the name of religion, (Julia) Scheeres (Jesus Land) and her adopted black brother, David, suffer cruel abuse, first in their Calvinist home in Indiana in the 1970s and then when their surgeon father and missionary-minded mother send the teens to a fundamentalist Dominican Republic reform school that is run like boot camp.  The self-righteous sermonizing would be hilarious if it were not the justification for vicious punishment.

“The racism is open, from the other kids and from authority.  Scheeres tries to find comfort in drink and in sex with a classmate … What is unforgettable is the tenderness between sister and brother, as uplifting as any sermon.  Their relationship is never sentimentalized: She is ashamed of the times she turns her back on him, tired of being called “nigger-lover . . . the black boy’s sister,” but they help each other through the worst with horseplay, humor, and courage” – Hazel Rochman @ American Library Association
Continue reading “Show 160: Julia Scheeres”